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Wake Up, Dorothy.
February 27, 2004

by Bill Hogan



"The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side. Oh joy, rapture," said Scarecrow to Dorothy, Lion and Tin Man, "I've got a brain!"

Scarecrow's new found knowledge was revealed after the Wizard of Oz bestowed upon the straw ragamuffin the honorary degree of Doctor of Thinkology. The Wizard explained to Scarecrow that the one thing "great thinkers" had that he didn't was a diploma.


When George Steinbrenner referred to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry as someone who reminded him of the Scarecrow from Oz, the general assumption was that The Boss was alluding to Henry's physical similarities. I think a case can be made that the Henry-Scarecrow comparison is more of a cerebral one.

Not long before the Yankees acquired the best player in baseball, John Henry's Red Sox had a deal in place with the Texas Rangers that would have brought Alex Rodriguez to Fenway Park. The only caveat being that A-Rod would have to restructure his $252 million contract. The All-Star shortstop was willing. The Major League Baseball Players Association wouldn't allow one of their marquee members to take a pay cut.

The deal fell through. Not because of the player's union, but because Henry wouldn't cough up the money. Now the future Hall of Fame slugger is playing in the Bronx because George was, once again, willing to open up the coffer; and John Henry is wandering the streets of Boston whistling the tune to that Wizard of Oz classic "If I Only Had a Brain."

Henry was too dumb to snatch up A-Rod when he had the chance. He was a dunce to give the Yankees another chance to bolster their All-Star lineup. And, by letting the deal slip through his fingers, it looks like he and Lion also have something in common.

To top it all off, the guy with the big market team, sitting on a $130 million payroll of his own is screaming for a salary cap. Ridiculous. At least Scarecrow has an honorary degree and can recite the Pythagorean Theorem.

The Red Sox have outspent all but a handful of Major League Baseball teams and have assembled an All-Star caliber squad that should compete for the American League pennant. The Yankees have one upped the Sox so now it's time to introduce a salary cap?

The Yankees have been getting the best of Boston for 84 years. A year after the Red Sox hand delivered Babe Ruth to the Bronx in 1920, the Bombers made their first-ever World Series appearance. Two years later, in 1923, the Babe led them to their first World Series Championship.

Ruth played in seven World Series wearing pinstripes and his team won four championships. The Yankees had no shortage of talent when they were roaring through the twenties, but all of a sudden, they have an unfair advantage over the rest of the league?

The Yankees made seven World Series appearances in an eight year span beginning in 1936. The team, led by Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy and seven future Hall of Fame players including Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, won six championships.

The Yankees were the first and only team to win five straight World Series Championships. A feat they accomplished between 1949 and 1953. During the streak, six future Hall of Fame players and Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel occupied the home team locker room at Yankee Stadium.

Now, after 86 years of futility in Boston, John Henry suddenly sees his team's chance to win a World Series drifting somewhere over the rainbow because the Yankees acquired A-Rod and he's furious.

It doesn't take a Doctor of Thinkology to see that Steinbrenner was right when he said that Henry's whining sounds like sour grapes. I say that as neither a Yankee fan nor a George Steinbrenner fan.

The Yankees have won 26 championships since the Red Sox last laid claim to the title in 1918. With teams not wearing pinstripes winning the other 59 World Series', it seems that the Red Sox have a little more to worry about than George's "evil empire."

John Henry should take a balloon ride to the Land of Oz and have a little chat with the Wizard. He was able to get Dorothy back to Kansas; maybe he can get the Red Sox back to the World Series.


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